Why media manipulation matters
Former Emmy-winning CNN reporter Amber Lyon blows the whistle. That she has to do so to Alex Jones is a sad testament to the current state of a feckless, timid GOP, the presidential candidate for which has embraced a “no whining about the media” strategy, which as I’ve pointed out has the practical effect of saying that his campaign’s image of remaining above the fray (which will be subverted by the very media he pretends to stand above) is more important than is informing an electorate whose being informed is truly a precondition for making our constitutional republic function as it should.
And evidently, all the major “conservative” outlets honored such a strategy of high-minded decorum, else I wouldn’t be grabbing this video from Info Wars.
In a representative constitutional republic, we rely on an informed electorate. Granting the news media the status of referee — that is, neutral arbiters and objective observers who speak truth to power — was a sure way to lead to its infiltration by those who rely on the cover of such a status to propagandize most effectively.
Part of retaking this country will be to retake the media. We don’t necessarily need an unbiased media. But we do need a competitive and equal one. The internet and talk radio has helped begin that process.
The next step is to permanently and deliberately bury the myth of journalistic neutrality as it is currently attributed — and one way to do that is to expose the curricula of the various schools of journalism from which the most prominent mainstream media organizations draw their reporters and, as importantly, their editorial staffs. The media lives under the cover of a kind of neutrality that, as a practical matter, they are taught in their training to reject, often as a matter of principle: anybody can report facts; your job is to report significance — and what comes to count as significant is of course dependent on your personal world view. And that world view is reinforced structurally through incoherent (but pleasingly populist) ideas of language along with the various other successes embedded in our epistemology by the left’s carefully-planned long march through the institutions.
Of course, not every journalist is an activist hack. Many people resist indoctrination.
And yes, to answer the post structuralists, true objectivity is impossible, given the limits of language and the necessity of agency: bias of some sort will always leech in at some point, try as we may to prevent it.
But the answer to that pedestrian fact — and this is where the anti-foundationalists hope to defeat you — is not to suggest, as they do, that the implicit fact of a kind of linguistic relativism gives us leave to do as we please with respect to fashioning “truths.” Rather, all that fact does is necessitate in us a concerted effort to be as objective as possible, which is, outside the realm of philosophical theorizing, more than adequate as a means of informing a population.
The left’s trick has been to, on the one hand, sell us on the idea of truth’s contingency (all narratives are relative; they are owned by those whose authenticity allows them to produce them from that group consciousness; consensus, then, stands in for truth, because real truth is unknowable; and therefore truth is a function of power, not metaphysical certainty); and on the other, to assert control over an institution that argues for its own neutrality and adopts a pose as protector of the very kinds of truths its defenders in other instances decry as merely motivated human constructs meant to stand in for the metaphysical ideal of truth.
To reestablish Enlightenment principles — even if only because to do so is to reaffirm the founding principles upon which our social compact is based (you don’t need to believe philosophically in the Enlightenment paradigm, but you must agree to accept it as the working model inside which the American experiment operates) — we need to root out from language and from linguistic assumptions, both of which build an operative epistemology, all the sophistry the left has planted there.
The roots are deep. But they are also fragile.
So. Let’s pick up the shovels already, shall we — and stop pretending that all that matters is how we prune the resultant weeds?